sober lifestyle

Tolerance

Not to brag, but in the span of two weeks, I handled a dental drill to the mouth AND a tattoo needle to the arm without having a complete nervous breakdown. I didn’t even cry! I mean, I’m still kind of sore from the full-body tense-up I held for an hour at a time, and my hands are still stuck in a bit of a claw from death-gripping the chair arms/table sides…but all in all, I did good.

If you want to go back a month to the date of my COVID booster shot, you can even add a drama-free injection to my big-girl resume.

I proudly texted my friend earlier this month, upon returning home from getting inked for the third time (see above: two wolves on left tricep), that my pain tolerance had finally reached adult levels. 💪🏻

I’m a couple months shy of 44. 🤷🏼‍♀️

It only took a few decades of downward-spiraling into in an alcohol addiction, and 31 action-packed months of sobriety, but I’m starting to get the hang of facing my fears — and feelings — without my old favorite security blanket.

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sober lifestyle

Spirituality

Living within walking distance of Tyler State Park is right up there at the top of my gratitude list, next to “super-supportive hubby,” and I’m in the park so often that I’ve become quite adept at stealthily squatting in the woods.

The bathrooms are closed, I assume because of COVID, and you gotta do what you gotta do, and there are plenty of large trees to hide behind in the off chance a family of bikers appears out of nowhere, as they always seem to do when I’m in the middle of saying my prayers out loud to the sky.

Yes, I’m a literal tree hugger who talks to nature. And however peculiar this might look to the random passerby — as far as I know, I haven’t traumatized anyone with my brief displays of public semi-nudity — this is how I stay sane at nearly 15 1/2 months sober.

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sober lifestyle

Fortitude

In a former life, my hobby was signing up for fitness competitions and paying to get my ass kicked — and my nerves rattled — for entire Saturdays, from pre-dawn until whenever the three, four, five workouts were complete, and I got knocked out of the running for the coveted plastic trophy/tin medal/commemorative T-shirt/$5-off Hylete coupon, and I’d fully drained the 12-pack of hard ciders I packed with my CrossFit gear.

Apart from the drinking, I honestly hated every second of those comps. I hated the whole day. It was awful to wake up scared, feeling immense pressure and dreading what I had to do — what I’d chosen to do — and wishing I could just choose not to do it, just change my mind, even if that made me a weakling or a coward.

It’s been a long time since I felt that particular kind of unpleasant anxiety. I’m feeling it now.

Tomorrow, I’m going to wake up and go get a tattoo, all by myself.

The last time I did this, four years ago, I white-knuckle-death-gripped my husband’s hand for 45 minutes straight as Sue, my tattoo artist, branded my shoulder with a simple, monochromatic ‘W’ flag in honor of the Cubs’ historic World Series victory. I think I branded Hubby in the process.

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